Air Force on the hunt for unwanted fruit flies

Queensland fruit fly.
Queensland fruit fly. Photo credit: Getty

Biosecurity officers aren't winging another fruit fly invasion, ramping up checks on yachts sailing into Northland this summer.

The Ministry for Primary Industries is sending extra staff into the region for intensive inspections, with the help from Customs and the Air Force.

Capability manager Sharon Tohovaka says the majority of the food items yachts bring in are host to the pesky insects.

"They may have been to a local market and bought tomatoes or pawpaws, or other fresh fruit and vegetables, that could have fruit fly adults or eggs in them. They could decimate our horticulture industry."

But Ms Tohovaka also says they do come across live animals from time to time, that need to be quarantined.

Yachts pose huge risks because they double as people's homes.

"Just as I would challenge you tell me exactly what you've got in your pantry down to the last item, people on yachts find that difficult to do."

The NZDF will be surveying the area from the sky to identify any incoming yachts that often illegally sought shelter in local coastal bays.

Small craft that were intending to enter New Zealand had to submit an advanced notice of where they would be arriving and details about the vessel and crew.

NZN / Newshub.